Last week, the Horned Frogs struggled offensively and barely escaped Fort Collins, Colo., with a 13-7 victory over the Colorado State Rams.
“Last week, we were very fortunate to get out of there (Colorado State) with a win,” Patterson said. “It’s a good thing when you can go on the road in the conference and come out with a victory, especially with as many mistakes as we had.”
Now the Frogs will put their undefeated conference record to probably its biggest test of the season against the No. 8 Brigham Young Cougars.
“They’ve won the conference the last two seasons,” Patterson said. “We have set our sights on them because that is where we want to be. These guys have been sitting at the top and our goal is to win a conference championship.”
TCU and BYU have combined to win the last three Mountain West Conference championships, but Patterson knows there are still several other obstacles his team will face on the way to the top.
“There are still five teams in our way to achieving our goal,” Patterson said. “They just happen to be the next one. I think we are growing up as a program.”
For the third straight year the Frogs will play the Cougars on a Thursday night. Overall, TCU has lost its last five games on Thursday nights. Patterson has learned from some of this experience and that has helped him prepare for this week’s game.
“We don’t practice in pads as much,” Patterson said. “I thought we played well at BYU on a short week last year when we didn’t go in pads. We have tweaked different things, and our kids have been able to get their shoulders and legs back quicker.”
This will be the second time this season the Frogs will face a team with an offense that is ranked inside the top 10.
“When you add a good quarterback and a solid offensive line, you can see the results,” Patterson said of BYU. “You don’t win a lot of football games unless you can push people around. They are very well coached and keep things in perspective, never too high or too low.”
But despite BYU’s high-powered offense, Patterson thinks the defense will ultimately decide this game.
“Whoever can stop the other team last will win,” Patterson said. “In the last few years, we have had to play catch up and we can’t do that against a team like this. It has to be a closer game from the beginning. You aren’t going to stop the passing game. You just have to control it.”